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Q&A with David Entwistle, president and CEO, Stanford Health Care

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | August 14, 2018
From the August 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: What developments are happening at Stanford today?
DE: We’re building a new hospital—set to open in 2019—and we continue to develop our network in the Bay Area to improve patient access to our world-class services. There are a lot of exciting things we’re doing in digital as well. We’re going live with digital pathology, where we use digital slides instead of traditional ones. It allows us to collect huge datasets, so that they can be predictive tools and aid the pathologists in what they’re doing.

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HCB News: What kind of relationships have you developed with Silicon Valley entities?
DE: As you may have seen in the news, one of the more exciting projects we’ve recently launched is with Apple on the Apple Heart Study. It uses an app designed to notify participants when they have an irregular heartbeat. This is something we’ve developed with our cardiologists and the tech folks at Apple.
With Google Research, we’re working on a project called Digital Scribe. A pilot program is evaluating whether machine learning technology and voice recognition software can be used to automate note entry for doctors in the electronic health record. The goal is to free up doctors so that they don’t have to be typing notes on a computer during patient visits.

We’re also partnering with a local company to put digital tracking into one of our ORs that will allow us to track time and motion data within the ICUs so that we can learn what will help patients get out of the hospital more quickly.

HCB News: What do you think Stanford and Stanford Health care are best-known for today?
DE: The linear accelerator was developed here. We’re partnering with Hitachi to deliver the first carbon-based radiation therapy. And we continue to push the bar. I think that just speaks to what we’re known for – having a culture of innovation that allows us to press the boundaries not only on novel therapies, but also the therapies that are already out there.

HCB News: Is there anything you’re working toward becoming better-known for going forward?
DE: Certainly one of the things, with our location in Silicon Valley, I’d like for us to be better-known for using the technology originating here. One of our strategic priority areas is a call for being digitally driven. I’d like for patients, unless they need something physically done for them, to have greater access to care remotely through technology, whether it’s through an Apple watch, apps, or a scale at home that’s connected to WiFi that can send in the data. The IT is incredible, the potential of the digital health technologies is enormous, and we’ve only scratched the surface.

HCB News: Can you discuss key challenges your organization faces?
DE: I think we’re always challenged on how we continue to push the bar on quality. Making sure we’re continuing to get better at what we do. The patient experience is paramount. You and I might judge that patient experience differently. For you, it might be a question of getting your appointment on time. For healthcare professionals, we look at mortality rates, infection rates, and all the things that are important to us, but we can always improve the patient experience. So that’s a challenge we always keep in mind so we can stay ahead of the curve.

The cost side of healthcare is also a real challenge. It is not as transparent as we would like. Therefore, it’s difficult to understand what the costs are. However, we continue to work on making it understandable for our patients.

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